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Feeling the Floor?


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I have a concern and I hope I do not raise any controversy, but I am very serious about understanding this matter.

Why would anyone want to "feel the floor" in pointe shoes? The floor hurts! Everyone says that feeling the floor ensures proper placement of the toes and the body in space, but whenever my toes "feel the floor" my pointe work is compromised because I am focused on my extremely painful toes.

Okay, this is not a traditional shoe vs. gaynor minden topic, but listen. I used to wear Grishko elites but now I wear Gaynors (which are totally painless and my pointe technique has been improving by the weeks). I recently became interested in going back to Grishko's because they formed to my feet better; however, when I DID wear the Grishkos, I always work the foam pads PLUS a jelly pad on my big toe. Even with this I had a little pain (was not feeling the floor, but had no interest in it whatsoever). But the problem was that after a week, a new foam pad starts to disintegrate, and the bottom of the big jelly toe does as well; it became a major expense. So I tried the ouch pouches (the only thing I need now in my Gaynors) with my Grishkos and 10 minutes into pointe class my eyes were tearing up from the shear pain.

But on the positive side, I know a girl who graduated from the dance program at Juilliard and she uses NOTHING in her pointe shoes- traditional pointe shoes-(no pads, no wraps). She told me she "wants to feel the floor." But I cannot imagine how skin and bone on a completely hard, flat surface can produce nothing but pain! :D

I would really love to go back to my Grishkos but I know I will be in pain. I want to be one of those people who needs no padding, or just the smallest amount, and be pain-free. What should I do? Does anyone know of any toe pads that are a cross between the foam (ultra comfy to me) and the ouch pouches (lasts forever)?

What can I do to have pain-free toes.

Sorry for the long post.

Thanks for any answers.

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knock, knock, a young dancer here...


Personally, I like to feel the floor too. That doesn't mean that my shoes are dead, and I can feel my toenails grinding into the floor (ouch!). I just like it when I wear paper towels for padding (though I begin to wear thicker pads when the shoes become rather soft), and I'm aware of where/how my foot makes contact with the floor. I'm not a big fan of dancing en pointe and feeling as if my feet are in a vacuum... (sorry for the exaggeration :thumbsup:) Perhaps properly fitted and very close-fitting shoes help in the ability to use less padding. Certainly if you have shoes that don't fit like a glove, your foot will slide around, and that would be uncomfortable. But I don't think that pointe work should hurt, so do what works for you! :D

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I would definitely try out different kinds of pointe shoes. Instead of just going back and forth between the same 2 shoes, and wondering what's wrong, try on as many as you can until you find one that doesn't put so much pressure on your big toes. I've never tried the Grishko Elite, but the description of it from Discount Dance supply says it "features a broad, flat box which provides an optimal platform." You might need to go with a more tapered box so that all your weight isn't on your big toe. Good luck! :)

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Oh, I forgot to respond to the feeling the floor question. When I was a teenager, I danced with no padding, with only a little tape on the toes that tended to blister. Now that I'm older, I do wear ouch pouches, and they are so comfy! Well, the only problem I have personally with padding (and I'm no expert--just personal experience talking here), is when you put too much padding, and the toes are all crunched up in the pointe shoe. You have to be able to spread your toes flat on the floor when standing flat, and be able to bend your toes so that you can roll through half pointe when doing releves. Other than that, I noticed no real difference between when I danced with no padding, and when I use ouch pouches.

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Sorry to hear about all that pain you are experiencing on pointe. I wear only ouch pouch juniors to protect my foot from the rough inside of the shoe. THe only thing I can think of is that you are wearing shoes that are wrong for your foot. When I wear the wrong shoe (ex: box is too big for me), I definitely feel pain. But when I wear the right shoe, I can feel the floor but there's no pain since the pressure is distributed across my entire box and there is no pain, only the feeling of the hard floor touching the tip of my toes.


You have to analyze which part of your foot hurts and put the padding there. You should also get the right shoe. Get help from Ms. De Vor. Pointe should not hurt so much that you can't dance.


Last night, I felt the floor a bit too much, but that was because my shoes are old and the box is stretching out and breaking down so my toes are jamming into the floor. It hurt, but it didn't hurt so much that I had tears in my eyes. It just hurt enough that I could still stand doing pique arabesque and staying there rather than coming down.



When I can't feel the floor from too much padding, pointe work suffers because I fall off the box and it becomes hard to pirouette.

Hope you find the solution! Pointe really shouldn't hurt THAT much.

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IMO, feeling the floor is just an expression of being able to feel your toes in the pointe shoe and if your feet are working correctly. When I wear too much padding, it might be more comfy but I dont feel if I am over the box. However, if the box is too soft, feeling the floor IS painful. In my Freeds this can happen very quickly (within 15 min).

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I would definitely look at wheter your shoes are correctly fitted. Pointe should generally be painless (although not always exactly comfortable) for a dancer who is ready for it and has correctly fitted shoes.


I wear nothing in my shoes and I do not get tears in my eyes even after an hour of pointe work. :) There may be, of course, some pain if the shoes are very new (I may get a blister or two before the shoe is broken in) or very dead (the box has turned to mush, and consequently there is a lot of pressure on the carrying toe) but nothing on the scale you descibe.




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If you're wearing Ouch Pouches in the Grishkos, you shouldn't feel pain like you describe after 10 minutes. The shoes don't fit right if they hurt that bad.

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I wear Grishko Elites with Ouch Pouch Jrs., and while I have no problem feeling the floor through them, I don't find it painful unless my shoes are dead... but then again, I have super square feet. If you have to add an extra pad for your big toe in them, I would suspect that these shoes might be too square for you.

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I would definatly have Ms. DeVor suggest some shoes for you, here is the link to the pointe shoe fitting form:




Unfortunatly a lot of fitters don't know as much as they should and I danced for several years in ill fitting shoes, which ended up causing me plantar fasciitus and achilies tendonitus, among other problems. After finally finding a pair that fit correctly dancing was like walking on clouds, with or without padding. :thumbsup:

Edited by pureafterglow
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I used to think I did not get this "feel the floor" thing, as I do not feel it very strongly in my shows - or so I thought. Then I tried a different kind of padding (a thicker ouch-pouch style, instead of the much thinner clothe-things I usually use), and :blink: - it was horrible. I felt as if I was dancing in porride and kept on going over my ankle simply because I did not know where my platform was! I went back to the thinner padding double-quick.


And no, it definitely should not hurt that way; something is wrong. I tried the thicker padding because working in new shows sometimes brings me a blister or two and I thought I might get rid of that. In good, broken-in shoes there is zero pain in the feet (some in my calf muscles, though - but that is a different story :wink:).

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Thanks a bunch ladies,

You all were right. A few days ago I went out and was fitted for a pair of Bloch Serenades (after re-trying the Bloch Signatures- the first pointe shoe I ever had-, a Capezio Ariel, and a Capezio Glisse- vamp WAY too wide and deep). The Serenades had the narrowest toe of all of these and, surprise surprise, did NOT hurt my toes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :wink: The fitting lady and I observed that yes, I do have flat ARCHES which make that part of my foot look wide, but my toes (especially when they're pointed) are surprisingly narrow. Thus the narrower box kept my toes closer and more supported.

Yesterday I wore the Serenades to pointe class for the first time. Beside the usual "new shoe slight stiffness" I was totally pain-free. There was no bending in the lower arch like in the GMs so I felt more secure in my one-legged releves and my foot looked more aligned which allowed my ankle to stretch more.

Yesterday was a great day, and I owe it to you guys. I just did not honestly think that my feet belonged in anything but a super-wide pointe boxes until now. All I need is an Ouch-Pouch and one of those really thin gel ovals (from Toe Savers) in the bottom, and I really don't even feel like I absolutely need that.

But for those that say Gaynors weaken your feet, that has definitely not been my experience. Even though they bent too low for my taste, I think the little amount of resistence given during rolling thru demi-pointe in these shoes strengthend my very flat arches. Yesterday I was doing one-legged releves in the brand new Serenades with no problems and I know for sure that I would not have had that strength if I had switched to the Serenades directly from my Grishko Elites.

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Gerlonda, it sounds as though you have compressable feet, and if this is the case, you might want to try the box liners made by Gaynor if the boxes of your new shoes start to stretch or get mushy. I have found that by simply adding a box liner to many shoes that I thought were dead, I have been able to get a few more weeks of use from them because the box liners keep my feet from sinking into the box when the box stretches and/or gets too soft. My teacher showed me how a paper towel can do the same thing, but I think the paper towel adds lumps, where the box liners don't.

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I got curious about those box liners you mentioned, since I have severely compressible feet. I googled some pictures from the web, but they did not really answer my questions. (I can't just go to a store and look at them. They don't sell them here in Finland.)


1. They seem to be sort of "custom pad your shoe" -kit. In short, a set of things you can put into your shoe to take up room in different places. Would this be a correct description? Can you cut the invidual pieces?


2. They seem to be fairly expensive. Can they be re-used with another pair of shoes?


3. How do you do it with paper towels? Fold the towel up and put it into the shoe?




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I believe you're correct that they only come in a kit, Gaynor calls it the fitting kit, and they are the dynamic box liner. Yes, they can be reused. I switch them in and out all the time, you don't need to anchor them in in any way. The paper towels are folded over the toes and slightly up the foot, as far as the box goes. My teacher first wraps the toes in lambs wool, then folds a paper towel into a square, then wraps that over the foot, which is why I found it to be lumpy, versus the box liner. I have found using the box liner enables me to get a completely different fit in my shoes, and I use the Grisko 2007 and the Gamba. Seems my feet are never the same size twice so I need to adjust the shoes in whatever way my feet are for that day. This box liner keeps me from sinking down into the box and allows me to still "feel the floor" enough to know where I am as far as actually having my feet on the floor instead of using so much gel padding that it feels as though my feet are somewhere in limbo and I'm not really sure what's going on down there!

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